Of narrow perceptions and ‘handcuffed’ minds: Part One

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WHEN Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa presented the national Budget for 2014 before Zimbabwe’s parliament, he also pointedly stated the context of that Budget by announcing that the old economy was dead and that a new one was slowly emerging.
By saying so he was referring to the Rhodesian economy, which Zimbabwe inherited in 1980, an economy well known for its harsh racial exclusion of blacks who, ironically, provided all the labour for it!
Expressed differently, the minister was also alluding to the land reclamation process which had successfully resettled more than 400 000 families on land previously monopolised by
4 000 white settlers!
The question is: Why did Chinamasa seek to frame his Budget by outlining the socio-historical context within which he was operating?
Why bother at all to state this seemingly banal fact before all and sundry? Several lines of interpretation come to mind here!
First, to remind the population of the challenges which arise when ‘an old order changeth’ but before ‘yielding place to new’, to quote Alfred Tennyson;
Second, to remind all of us that Zimbabwe is travelling an arduous journey taking us from the colonial white world of yore with all its hurtful characteristics and moving towards a world of complete political and economic emancipation — and that his Budget needs to be understood as part of that process and not as a single event!
Third, to appeal to all of us to understand the role we should play in bringing about a new order in which we should be the chief architects of that order and therefore the owners of everything!
Because a Budget by its very nature is dominated by statistics and intentions, Chinamasa did not have time to elaborate his cryptic statement which tantalisingly invites us to regard it at many levels — a description, an appeal, a challenge as well as an explanation — all rolled into one ministerial utterance!
What is critical, however, is that Minister Chinamasa was trying to dramatise that Zimbabwe has reached a defining moment, indeed a watershed after which things will never be the same again, more so the economy!
In other words real prospects of owning the economy are within our grasp, if only we could open our eyes, understand our situation better, adjust our mindsets and aspirations accordingly and move forward as a sovereign proud people!
It turns out that one of the biggest challenges facing Zimbabwe today, and by extension Africa as a whole is the belief that Africa can only develop if it follows the wishes of the West.
And this belief continues to dominate the thinking of some of our politicians, economists, educationists, business people etc.
For instance, Morgan Tsvangirai in his so-called state of the nation address of January 24 2014 had this to say about the economy: “It is important to appreciate that the underlying cause of our current predicament is the disputed election.
“The solution is unconditional dialogue…”
On the surface the statement sounds charitable and even well meaning, but to those familiar with MDC-T posturing all he is saying is that as long as the results of the July 31 2013 election remain unrecognised by the Anglo-Saxon West, Zimbabwe will not access Western capital for investment purposes and thus make its economy prosper!
He is also saying without talking to me and accommodating me in another inclusive government the economy will continue to deteriorate — a position in line with his ‘tongai tione’ doctrine!
In other words, Tsvangirai believes that he is the only one who has the keys to unlock the Anglo-Saxon banks from which Zimbabwe will get the much needed foreign direct investment.
But for him to play his part, ZANU PF has to discard its indigenisation policies so as to lure Western capital into the country and bolster the confidence of Western investors!
In other words, surrender the country to the West or else suffer the consequences!
There is nothing new or original in Tsvangirai’s position; he is simply regurgitating the same position which Rhodies such as Tony Hawkins, Eddie Cross and Eric Bloc have been preaching to all who care to listen well before the formation of MDC itself by the Westminster Foundation.
What our tribesman from Buhera cannot grasp, elementary as it is, is that it is the resource-poor Western countries, especially those in Europe which are desperate to lay their hands on any African resources by any means necessary — and that failure to do so means they will continue to slide into second class economies in comparison with breathtaking and upbeat economies of the East; that capital by itself, important as it is, does not necessarily add value to anyone unless invested in relation to labour and material resources — all of which Africa has in stupendous abundance!
Coming nearer home, it is obvious that Tsvangirai and his band of dwindling followers cannot think outside the box, so to speak; their understanding of the world around them is handicapped, if not actually handcuffed by the white man’s definition and interpretation of Africans!
As far as all of them are concerned, what the white man says is the gospel truth and almost semi-devine!
The likes of Tony Hawkins, Geoffrey Feltoe, Irene Staunton and their fellow Rhodies have remained stuck, maroon-like, in our midst for a purpose — to repeat and repeat again the neo-liberal doctrine as regards politics, economics, law, business, education, culture etc until most blacks come to regard neo-liberalism as a reality second to nature only!
And the success of this crude strategy became obvious in 2008 when some Zimbabweans almost surrendered their independence by voting for a political party formed by Britain and supported by the West!
The neo-liberal doctrine which remains anchored in our schools, colleges, institutes and universities right across Africa was deliberately spread by the West to replace African nationalism and Pan-Africanism because the two inspired almost all liberation movements of the continent.
The two had proved to be a real threat to Western looting of African resources and had to be initially diluted in content, then later on distorted to a degree to which it came to be regarded as outdated and therefore fit to be disposed of!
This process of discrediting African nationalism was done through education systems of the continent of which Western countries became the main sponsors and donors both at conceptual and material levels.
The result: Africa has embraced its Western enemy as the model to emulate — and the confusion is there for all to see!

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